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EspressoAlien
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Joined: 11 Jun 2014
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 11:22am
Subject: Calibrated Tampers
 

Hi, I'm looking at some tampers and I want to purchase a Calibrated Tamper. Is the Espro Tamper the only option out there?
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 11:35am
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

You're welcome to go out and spend your money how you want...and you may get something out of this tamper...but if you're interested in hearing a different perspective, read on...

I used to own an Espro tamper. I bought expecting it to help train me to tamp with consistent 30# pressure.  I found that it was very easy to push beyond the click.  More accurately, I found it very difficult to not push beyond the click.  After training myself for several months, I took a barista training class.  The instructor, Heather Perry, had us tamping onto a bathroom scale, and I was doing a consistent 60#! Uh, wait a minute....did I just say 60#?  Yeah, I sure did.  The click didn't help me one bit, other than I was consistent.  I stopped using it...and began feeling the resistance in the grounds as the puck was forming. If you pay attention, you can actually feel when the puck is well-formed, although you're still able to really pack it down tight if you want to.  You can spend that money on a really cool looking tamper or maybe even more helpful tools.

 
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yarrenbool
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yarrenbool
Joined: 30 Apr 2014
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 11:57am
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

First I have to admit to being a real sucker for gadgets!

Like the previous poster I purchased an Espro tamper and like him I later realized I was tamping way, way, way harder than the click.

So, being the gadget sucker I ordered the "Smart-Tamp":

http://www.mgcoffeetools.com/smart_tamp.php - click here

I've received my tracking number, it's "in the mail" so I'm expecting to receive it this coming week.  It should solve the problem of knowing when I'm applying too much force.

I'd really like to register for a barista trading course but can't find any at all in my area.
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

EspressoAlien Said:

Hi, I'm looking at some tampers and I want to purchase a Calibrated Tamper. Is the Espro Tamper the only option out there?

Posted June 14, 2014 link

No. There's the Smart Tamp Doug mentioned, and let's not forget the Attento Click-Mat.  My favorite is the Technic tamper by Concept Art; it's  is just as good as the Espro, adjustable, has a variety of interchangeable base-shape options, and is less expensive.  

If you like gimmicks and are interested in a collection of tampers, go ahead and buy one -- or several.

Otherwise, understand: (1) They are gimmicks; (2) There are less expensive and more effective methods for learning consistent tamp pressures (per Ron); (3) Once you've developed consistency, calibrated tampers are far more gimmick than aid; and (4) There's no magic pressure that's the right pressure.  Anything from about 5 to 45lbs will work about as well as anything else.  All that really matters is that the tamp is level, there are no voids or cracks, and the puck is sealed against the basket around its entire circumference.  

The most important things about a tamper as a tool is that it fit your basket tightly and your hand comfortably.  After that, the "cool factor" is everything.  

Rich
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boar_d_laze
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Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
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Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 12:48pm
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

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hkeiner
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Posted Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:13pm
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

If it is not too late to chime in on this topic I would like to say that I have an Espro tamper and  I am very happy with it. I will admit that it is a bit pricy but I found that the pain I felt from spending so much on the tamper was soon forgotten while the pleasure of using it continues.

While I do not know how close the Espro results in a tamp of 30lbs, I have found that my "dialing in" method has become more consistent and predictable since I started using it. Previously, I was often tempted to adjust my tamp pressure as part of the dialing in process while now I tamp down strictly using the tamper's click at my guide. This is my method...I pre-weigh a single dose of beans, I grind them directly in to the portafilter, I use WDT technique to distribute coffee in the portafilter and do NOT tap the portafilter before or after WDT, I press down slowly on the tamper until it just gives (clicks), I release it, and then I twist a few times to finish. Any changes I make to speed up or slow down the shot is only done by adjusting the grinder or changing the weight of beans used.

Just my opinions...
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Mon Aug 18, 2014, 11:44am
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

hkeiner Said:

...and then I twist a few times to finish.

Posted August 17, 2014 link

Be careful when you twist to polish the tamped puck.  Since you're no longer pressing straight down with this action, but rather applying a shearing force to the top of the puck, you can increase the risk of channeling to your extractions.

 
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hkeiner
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Espresso: Saeco Aroma
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Posted Mon Aug 18, 2014, 12:09pm
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

emradguy Said:

Be careful when you twist to polish the tamped puck.  Since you're no longer pressing straight down with this action, but rather applying a shearing force to the top of the puck, you can increase the risk of channeling to your extractions.

Posted August 18, 2014 link

Thanks for the tip. I'll stop doing the 'twist' and see how it goes, although I always thought that the twist was standard procedure.
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DanoM
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Posted Mon Aug 18, 2014, 4:40pm
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

hkeiner Said:

Thanks for the tip. I'll stop doing the 'twist' and see how it goes, although I always thought that the twist was standard procedure.

Posted August 18, 2014 link

WAS is the key word there.  I still haven't dropped it completely, but it's a good idea to drop the twist.  It looks pretty to see a nice polished puck, but I don't think it really makes much difference at all and if you put just a little pressure in the wrong spot you can start a fracture in the puck.

I started with an Espro tamper, and like it.  It's a nice tool for people without training like me.  Once you have tamping down you can pass it along to someone else for practice.  It's not necessary, but for someone learning without hands on instruction it is reassuring.
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Mon Aug 18, 2014, 9:21pm
Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
 

I have the Espro as well as the SmartTamp. Both excellent tools for what they do.
As far as the "twist" I have actually found a use for it. The Smart tamp was starting to hold a bit of coffee on the flat of its base when withdrawing at times. I started giving it about a 1/8th turn before lifting and it cured it. Haven't investigated further as to why that tamper does that. Or how often. But since I found the "cure" I hadn't thought of the cause again until now.

 
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